Sewage pollution

& water quality

Are local issues

Water quality and sewage pollution are local issues. It’s about the waves we surf and the rivers and beaches where we swim. It’s the places we love and go to for solace and excitement. Tragically, most of these places have suffered from systemic and chronic pollution.

Our community of ocean activists come from the four corners of the UK, and they tell us that where they’re from makes a big difference to their experience of campaigning for an end to sewage pollution. So, this year we have taken a different approach to the Water Quality Report. We’re beginning to dig deeper into the sewage scandal, moving beyond a singular national picture, delving into the state of our rivers and coastline in the nations that make up the United Kingdom.

Like every Water Quality Report that has come before this, it is designed to provide fresh data and insight into this crisis. It is picked up and used by journalists, businesses, policymakers and, most importantly, you the campaigners for a thriving ocean and thriving people. We will likely have a general election next year and we want to give you the ammunition to fight for the ocean and the places you love – wherever you live.

At SAS, we believe that everything we do should be driven by data and science. We seek to represent an accurate picture of the appalling state of our blue spaces and tell it like it is. Facing the facts can be shocking and upsetting. We are not exaggerating when we say our rivers are dying. They are – in front of our eyes.

Our data is driven by the use of the Safer Seas and Rivers Service (SSRS), together with monitoring carried out by our national network of volunteer citizen scientists and annual monitoring data. It is supplemented with fantastic insights from every day ocean activists across the devolved nations and investigations by our brilliant team.

We talk of millions of hours of discharge of raw sewage, of hazardous counts of harmful bacteria and indicators of ecological destruction. But this year, we have also sought the experience of people from across our community. For many, this is lived experience of being ill. Or seeing rivers like my own – the River Lim, being declared ecologically dead or our beaches covered in shit. Of events cancelled, earnings lost and businesses closed. These are indicators of the human cost of the state of our rivers and coastlines.

Thank you to all of you who registered the impact of pollution on your health through the SSRS, or took the time to share your experiences with the SAS team compiling this report. Your testimony is vital to our cause.

It is this energetic community that will bring about an end to this sewage pollution crisis. Engaging, empowering and mobilising in force! Please take what you need from this Water Quality Report and ask us for more. Use the End Sewage Pollution Manifesto to inform your local candidates ahead of the incoming general election – they need your vote and they can feel the tension around sewage pollution bubbling.

Together, for the ocean.